Project #3632

Transform Lives of African Youth by Making Films

by Hot Sun Foundation
Grace, Hot Sun Foundation media intern
Grace, Hot Sun Foundation media intern

I am Grace, a journalism major at United States International University and a social media intern at Hot Sun Foundation in Nairobi, Kenya. My attraction to Hot Sun Foundation comes from two areas of interest to me, my love for media related projects and for poverty eradication from the slums of Nairobi.

As a young person living in Nairobi, I see firsthand how our youth lack opportunities to excel. Our streams for success are very narrow. There is little government help and when one is not from a stable background it can be grinding to maximize your potential. It’s easier to get lost in casual labour, drugs and idling about.

I am grateful that Hot Sun Foundation provides the youth of Kibera and elsewhere the platform to be able to venture into the world of film. Most of the graduates I have spoken to invariably say, the film industry is not where they thought they would end up, not for any other reason but for the fact that film seemed a lofty dream. I admire the founders. Kenya is not one of the easiest places to work in as the government, as is the case elsewhere in the world, can be a very limiting factor.

With organizations such as Hot Sun Foundation it is refreshing to see a non-profit that is contributing with long term effects at hand. One of the graduates I have interacted with confessed to being a criminal before seeing the benefits of adhering to the classes at Hot Sun Foundation. That means he is no longer terrorizing his community. That means he can earn a legal living. A neighborhood with one less criminal has a great ripple effect.

I am happy to support Hot Sun Foundation in whatever way I can.

I am reaching out to all of you, on GlobalGiving, sharing my thoughts and asking you to support this amazing and very challenging work.

Will Hot Sun Foundation be able to continue to offer filmmaking training to urban slum youth?

That depends on YOU.

Hot Sun Foundation’s major grant ends this year.

Your end of the year gift can make the difference for talented youth who have stories to tell.

Give whatever you can… or even a little bit more!

Donate at

Happy Holidays and THANKS!

Grace with Hot Sun Foundation trainees on location
Grace with Hot Sun Foundation trainees on location


Hot Sun Film Schoolgrads and trainees on location
Hot Sun Film Schoolgrads and trainees on location
What if…
All the talented young people
living in urban slums in East AFrica
could tell their stories through film?
What would happen?
How would this change their lives, their families,
their communities, the media industry?
This is the vision of Hot Sun Foundation.
This is what we have been doing for seven years…
Providing accessible hands-on filmmaking training for
urban slum youth in Kenya and beyond.
Over 80 youth have graduated from our Foundation in Filmmaking course.
Most of them are working in the Kenya media industry.
There are so many success stories:
Alice is working in Dubai
Bonface has edited successful tv programs and documentaries
Wilfred has worked for tv, commercials and documentaries
Mariah is currently working on the Advanced Film Project
Moses has become a sought-after editor
Victor is a talented cameraman
And who stands behind all of these talented youth?
Who provided the opportunity for them to use their talents in filmmaking?
YOU and all of the supporters of Hot Sun Foundation,
through donating money, time, ideas, mentoring, social networking.
During this holiday season, and in every season, your support makes a difference.
Our major grant is ending this year.
We will continue to provide filmmaking training with your help and support.
#GivingTuesday 2 December 2014 is a day to show that holidays mean more than shopping - that people everywhere are willing to reach out and support others.

Please donate at

Thank you for all you do!

It is appreciated

Hot Sun Foundation Board

Hot Sun Film School grad Mariah
Hot Sun Film School grad Mariah


Charles, Hot Sun Foundation filmmaking trainee
Charles, Hot Sun Foundation filmmaking trainee

My name is Charles. I live in Majengo, Nairobi, Kenya. (Editor’s note: Majengo is a large urban slum). My interest in cameras lead to my journey in filmmaking.

 My first experience with a professional camera was when my sponsors from the UK, who were paying my high school fees, came for a visit to Kenya. We took a trip to Mombasa (on the coast) and they were taking photos the whole time. I asked to view their pictures, but by accident I was so curious about the camera’s functions that I clicked around and accidentally deleted all their photos. They were very angry with me. 

 The next morning, I woke up early to take photos of beach activities and capture the sun rising. This remedied the situation because they told me my photography was surprisingly good. I guess I have a natural ability to compose pictures.

 After high school, I joined Hot Sun Film School. I could only manage to attend classes for one month. As an orphan, I have to take care of myself, and my income as a second hand clothes trader was not enough.

 However, I continued my filmmaking learning via tutorials on Youtube. I also attended various art and film workshops.  I have stayed in touch with my former classmates and participated in their projects.

 Now I am back at Hot Sun Foundation learning about film production.

 Training at Hot Sun Foundation is quite engaging. I love interacting with other students who are full of big ideas and have as much energy for the art as I do.

 I have come to discover that implementing an idea can be really challenging. I have a number of movie ideas but funds to achieve these ideas are not easy to come by. Nevertheless, I have managed to shoot a short trailer for a movie about old people in the coastal town of Mombasa, Kenya who are subjected to lynching for suspicion of being witches.

 Filmmaking is challenging as equipment is expensive and even low budget productions come with a hefty price tag. All in all, I love it so much that I am up to the challenge.

 On Bonus Day Wednesday 15 October, remember me and the many, many urban slum youth who have benefitted from the hands-on filmmaking training offered only at Hot Sun Foundation.

 Our future depends on you! Any amount welcome.

 Donate TODAY WED. 15 October Bonus Day 

and your donation will be matched 30%!

 Donate at

 THANKS for your support. It does make a difference.

Your generosity provides opportunities for talented youth in East Africa.

Teamwork at Hot Sun Foundation filmmaking training
Teamwork at Hot Sun Foundation filmmaking training


Hot Sun Foundation graduates training others
Hot Sun Foundation graduates training others

 In 2009, when Hot Sun Foundation contemplated moving from a program based in Kibera, (a slum in Nairobi, Kenya), offering film screenings, short term training, workshops, special events and street theatre to providing comprehensive hands-on training in filmmaking, our first thought was to involved local professionals from film and media. Hands-on filmmaking training was seldom practiced in training institutes in East Africa. Most of the training was theoretical. We were determined to be different. Not just because we were working with youth in slums, but also because we wanted to offer quality filmmaking training that would equip youths to make films.

 We invited film and media professionals to our very modest office and training centre. To our great satisfaction, many well-known professionals came to our orientation meeting and said they embraced the concept.

 Yes, they embraced the concept, but putting it into practice was another issue. We called professionals from film and media to teach specific classes on specific days at specific times. Very few of them had had any past teaching experience. Very few of them had worked in urban slum settings with youth with limited formal education.

 Professionals would agree to a certain class but then at the last minute could not show up. Usually because they had a paying gig. Most professionals in film and media in Kenya are self-employed and/or work on a project basis. If a project comes up, they have to take it to survive.  Our filmmaking training paid a very minimum wage plus they had to travel to the urban slum plus they had to work with urban slum youth plus they had to try to familiarize themselves with our curriculum. That was asking a lot. Perhaps too much.

 So what happened? Over time as we trained urban youth in filmmaking, most of whom got jobs or projects in the mainstream media in Kenya, some of the graduates of our Foundation in Filmmaking program became the core of our trainers.

 We still reach out to industry professionals, but now more as mentors. Our core trainers are our graduates who are willing and able to return to teach others.

 Unfortunately, this virtuous cycle may come to an end in 2014. Our major grant is ending. It costs about USD$395 per month per trainee for our four month Foundation in Filmmaking program.

 With your support, we will be able to continue.

 The very BEST time to donate would be Bonus Day (Wed. 15 October) when your contribution will be matched 30%.

Mark your calendars and don't forget to donate on Bonus Day Wed. 15 October. 

 BUT ANY TIME and ANY AMOUNT is a good time to donate.

To keep young filmmakers training urban slum youth in Kenya, donate at

 Your support is  always appreciated.

Thank you.


Denis preparing for filming
Denis preparing for filming

Movie Madness Part 2: Denis comes to Nairobi

When I told my mother I wanted to move to Nairobi from the small town of Muranga’a to become a filmmaker she was very upset. She was scared and worried that something would happen to me and that I was going to get lost in the big city just by myself.

I was the only son still at home, the youngest, too. But I really wanted to join the Hot Sun Foundation Film school, so she called her aunt to organize a place for me to stay. I live in Kaloleni now with my uncle. I’ve never met him before but we get along very well. My mum and I talk on the telephone almost every day. She got used to the idea that I live in Nairobi now and she is proud of what I’m doing.

I want to try to change the mentality of people in this country. I don’t like it. Everything is just about money. It’s sometimes a very selfish society.

I’d like to hit topics with my films that manage to open people’s eyes. That’s why I am mostly interested in scriptwriting and editing. Scriptwriting gives me control about the theme, the idea and the words that are used in the movie. And editing gives me the opportunity to put the idea I had in mind into vision.

Your support makes it possible for youth like Denis to learn filmmaking at the only hands-on filmmaking training centre for youth who have the talent but not the funds to learn filmmaking. 

 Over 75 youth have learned filmmaking at Hot Sun Foundation and are working in the Kenya media industry.

 Our major grant ends this year.  We need your support to keep our doors open. 

*  *   *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *

Don’t Miss This Special Opportunity:

 All recurring donations made by 10 September WEDNESDAY will be DOUBLED.

Sign up to make a donation of any amount, once a month for at least four months, and it will be DOUBLED.

 For example, if you donate $25 for four months (or $100), Hot Sun Foundation will receive $200!

Donate today at

THANKS for all you do!

Denis with filmmaker Wilfred a former graduate
Denis with filmmaker Wilfred a former graduate
Hot Sun Film trainees with Heinz Hermanns, Berlin
Hot Sun Film trainees with Heinz Hermanns, Berlin



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Organization Information

Hot Sun Foundation

Location: Nairobi, Kenya - Kenya
Website: http:/​/​
Project Leader:
Nathan Collett
Nairobi, Kenya
$50,478 raised of $70,000 goal
688 donations
$19,522 to go
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